When a family member or loved one passes away, there may be a need to contest their Last Will & Testament. Since Wills are only valid if they were properly executed and are free from fraud, duress, and the pressures exerted by other persons, there may be situations where a Will should be denied Probate. Often, relatives will challenge the validity of a Will because they may be unfairly benefited in the Will or not mentioned in the Will at all. Objections to the validity of a Will are done in the context of a Will Contest proceeding.
Reasons for Contesting a Will in New YorkThere are many reasons why someone might want to contest a Will, but to legally invalidate a Will and prevent it from being admitted to Probate, you need to prove one of the following circumstances:
Lack Due Execution
The Will was not executed properly as required by New York’s law.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity
The Testator of the Will was mentally incapable of executing the Will.
Undue Influence by Another
When the Testator created their Will, another party influenced the Testator to such a degree that the Will ceased to be the product of the Testator’s own free will.
The Testator was led to believe a false or misleading statement made by another. This false or misleading statement was instrumental in how the Testator disposed of his or her property in the Will. The Will is also the product of fraud when it is falsely made by someone other than the Testator.
If a wrongdoer threatened the Testator to perform or did perform a wrongful act that coerced the Testator into doing something that she or he would not otherwise have done.
Revocation by the Testator
There is another more current Will that revoked and trumps the one being Probated. Or the Will being probated is only a copy of the Original Will, while the Original Will was purposefully destroyed by the Testator before his or her death.